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2nd Battalion, 5th Marines

2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, ninety years old in 2004, is the most highly decorated infantry battalion in the history of the United States Marine Corps.

The Second Battalion, 5th Marines was activated in July 1914 and immediately sailed to the Caribbean to protect U.S. interests in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The Battalion returned to the United States in late 1914. In June 1917, the Battalion sailed for France with the Fifth Marine Regiment. During World War I, the Battalion participated in the Battle of Belleau Wood, Soisson, and the Meuse-Argonne Campaign. For these actions, the Battalion was twice awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Palm and once with Gold Star. The Fourragere representing these awards is worn today by members of the Fifth Marine Regiment.

Second Battalion, Fifth Marines participated in the post-war occupation of Germany and returned to Quantico, Virginia in August 1919. In 1920, the Battalion was ordered to guard U.S. mail trains. During the 1920's, it also participated in reenactments of Civil War battles. The Battalion was sent to Nicaragua in 1927 to supervise the 1928 national elections, remaining seven years to fight bandits with the Nicaraguan Guardia Nacional.

Returning to Quantico in 1934, the Battalion participated in numerous fleet landing exercises, contributing to the development of Marine Corps amphibious doctrine.

In 1941, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines joined the newly-formed First Marine Division at New River, North Carolina. During World War II, the Battalion fought at Guadalcanal, New Britain, Peleliu, and Okinawa. After the war, the Battalion served on occupation duty in Northern China until 1947, when it returned to Camp Pendleton, California.

In July of 1950, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines embarked at San Diego and sailed to Pusan, Korea. In August, the Battalion fought as part of the 1st Marine Provisional Brigade, the "Fire Brigade," at the Pusan Perimeter against invading North Korean forces. During the Korean War, the Battalion participated in the landing at Inchon, the liberation of Seoul, the Chosin Reservoir campaign, and the defense of the East Central and Western Fronts. From July 1953 to February 1955, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines assisted in the defense of the Korean de-militarized zone after which it returned to Camp Pendleton.

In 1959, the Battalion began regular deployments to Camp Schwab, Okinawa as part of the unit transplacement system. In April 1966, the Battalion deployed to the Republic of Vietnam. During the next five years the Battalion participated in combat operations at Hue City, Que Son, Phu Bai, Dong Ha and Phu Loc. The Battalion returned to Camp Pendleton in 1971 and in 1975 participated in Operation New Arrival, the relocation of Southeast Asian refugees. During the next fifteen years, the Battalion deployed regularly to Okinawa as part of the Marine Corps Unit Deployment Program.

In December 1990, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines sailed for the Persian Gulf as part of the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade and participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Second Battalion, Fifth Marines landed in Saudi Arabia on the first day of the ground war and participated in the liberation of Kuwait. During the return transit to the United States, the Battalion was diverted to Bangladesh in order to provide humanitarian relief as part of Operation Sea Angel.

The Battalion returned to the United States in June 1991, and redeployed to Okinawa five months later. In January 1994, the Battalion deployed as the ground combat element of the 11th MEU(SOC), participating in Operations Continue Hope and Quickdraw, the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Somalia, and Operation Distant Runner, the evacuation of Americans from civil war in Rwanda. During the next seven years, the Battalion regularly deployed to Okinawa as the ground combat element of the 31st MEU(SOC), based in Okinawa.

In the spring of 2003, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, part of Fifth Marine Regiment, invaded Iraq as the lead element of the 1st Marine Division in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Battalion fought its way north from the Iraqi border all the way into the capital city of Baghdad.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:17:48 ZULU